By Mudassir Kuloo
Srinagar, Mar 27: While the glaciers in Kashmir are melting down, the state government doesn’t even know how many of them do actually exist in the state.
The melting down of glaciers has become a serious issue in the state for the last 15 years, while the government seems least interested in protecting them.
An official of the Environment Department said that government has failed to monitor the state of the glaciers.
“We are yet to know the number of glaciers in the state since there are many untapped glaciers and government is not concerned about their preservation,” the official said.
The official said that current glacial extents are out of balance with current climatic conditions.
“It indicates that glaciers will continue to shrink in the future even without further temperature increase,” the official said.
Former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had said there was a need for more scientific studies to conclusively establish the link between climate change and shrinking glaciers.
“Government has taken no steps to conduct any research and know the reasons for receding of glaciers,” the official said.
Professor Shakil Romshoo has done a survey over melting of glaciers on their own level without any government assistance.
In his survey, Ramshoo has stated that Kashmir glaciers are “shrinking due to rise in temperature”.
Romshoo studied the health of nine “benchmark” glaciers in Kashmir Himalayas between 1980 and 2013.
The data analysis showed the glaciers in Lidder Valley have shrunk by 17%.
The study shows that loss of glaciers in Upper Indus Basin (Hindukush Himalayas, Karakoram and the Himalayan mountain ranges) could be highest among those in Kashmir Valley.
Environmentalist Abdul Majeed Kak said that government has paid “no attention” towards environment in the state.
“Not only glaciers, every environmental aspect has being ignored here,” Kak said.
Experts have expressed serious concern over the melting of glaciers in the Valley, especially the Thajwas and Kalohai glaciers.
The preservation of glaciers is the job of Ecology and Environment Department.
In the action plan on climatic changes of earth science department, it says the climate change cell mentions the annual temperature is projected to increase from 0.9 +/- 0.6 degree Celsius to 2.6 +/- 0.7degree Celsius by 2030.
It has recommended the government to ban the fuel driven vehicles in environment fragile places to restrict melting of glaciers. The action plan has called for the promotion of battery operated (charged from solar power) transport systems in places falling in the vicinity of the glaciers.
Minister for Environment, Chowdhary Lal Singh, said government was taking measures for safety of glaciers.
Asked if the government has done any research or took any measures for preserving the glaciers, he dropped the call without replying.